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Norman Mailer: The American


USA Director: Joseph Mantegna


Producers: Joseph Mantegna, Steph Ching


Cinematographers: Tim McCarthy, Leonardo Aponte Editor: Justin Chan 2010/color/95 min.


JOSEPH MANTEGNA


Born in Connecticut in 1957, Joseph Mantegna began his film career as an executive producer of the thriller Dead Calling (2006). His directorial debut came with Ptown Diaries (2009), a documentary focusing on the history of Provincetown, Massachusetts. Norman Mailer: The American is his second film.


Filmography Ptown Diaries (2009)


As brash and fast-talking as the man himself, Norman Mailer: The American is an illuminating look at one of the most provocative cultural icons of the twentieth century. Director Joseph Mantegna chronicles the life and times of this complex, rough-edged intellectual in a montage of in-your-face footage from public appearances and interviews with Mailer’s family, friends, critics and the man himself before his death in 2007.


After his meteoric rise to literary stardom as a young man with The Naked and the Dead, Mailer struggled to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with thereafter; Mantegna enlarges upon the aftermath of that struggle, from his wholehearted embrace of the experimentation with sex and drugs that dominated the 1960s to the volatile and sometimes violent persona he adopted, detailed startlingly by his ex-wives. His children, however, offer another perspec- tive, speaking devotedly of the man they still miss. The breadth of their father’s accomplishments is staggering; the Village Voice cofounder penned more than 30 books, winning both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in the process. He also covered such significant historical events as the deaths of John F. Kennedy and his assassin Lee Harvey Oswald; the riots surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention; the launch of Apollo 11; and Rumble in the Jungle, Muhammad Ali and George Forman’s famous bout in Zaire.


Norman Mailer: The American reveals a social critic of outsized proportions and omnivorous tastes, a man of intense energy and recklessness, but also a devoted friend and family man. Above all, what comes through in this vivid portrait is his sincerity—his heartfelt striving to push social boundaries for the sake of truth.


—VAL MOSES In cooperation with Colorado Society of Professional Journalists


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DOCUMENTARY


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